City Council member Erika Strassburger announcing her proposal for new legislation on Feb. 26. Photo courtesy of Councilperson Strassburger's office.

Good news for Pittsburgh workers in all industries who are pregnant or are planning to have a child:

Pittsburgh City Council member Erika Strassburger has proposed legislation to protect pregnant employees, individuals seeking to become pregnant and their partners.

The legislation would prohibit employment discrimination against pregnant workers, those seeking to become pregnant and also their partners before, during and after pregnancy and after childbirth. This change to the City Code could require all employers to reasonably modify employees’ workspaces if necessary and to offer “justifiable flexibility” in their work schedules in order to attend medical appointments. You can find the proposed legislation here.

“Employees should not be forced to choose between their livelihood and their reproductive decisions. My legislation ensures that pregnant workers, regardless of whether they work in a corporate office, a retail store or a warehouse, can work in a safe and comfortable environment, attend medical appointments and sustain a healthy pregnancy without fear of losing their job or benefits,” Strassburger said in an announcement about the legislation. “I encourage employers citywide to review the Guidance Document to help prevent pregnancy-based discrimination from ever occurring.”

If it passes, this would make Pittsburgh one of the first jurisdictions in the country to directly safeguard employment protections for the partners of pregnant employees. It would also make Pittsburgh one of a few cities guaranteeing employment protections for related events that occur before, during and after gestation and childbirth.

“This new legislation makes clear to pregnant individuals and their partners the rights and protections they have under the law. In the past, we believe employees were unsure of their rights and often did not file a claim, even when they felt they were discriminated against,” says Megan Stanley, deputy director of the city’s Commission on Human Relations.

The city’s Commission on Human Relations also released an accompanying “guidance document” to help employers better understand their rights and responsibilities when it comes to employees who are pregnant, or seeking to become pregnant, and their partners.

That document is available here.

“This legislation represents an important effort to make existing law more effective in offering protection for local workers. By explicitly advocating for pregnancy fairness, Councilperson Strassburger’s office is addressing the reality that many gender-based employment discrimination complaints are related to pregnancy,” says anupama jain, executive director of the city’s Gender Equity Commission.

“Legislation like this,” jain says, “makes Pittsburgh a national leader in helping residents thrive by removing barriers to their fullest participation in economic opportunities.”

Melissa Rayworth

Kidsburgh Editor Melissa Rayworth specializes in stories about culture, gender, design and parenting. She has written for a variety of outlets in the U.S. and Asia, and is a frequent contributor to The Associated Press. Find a selection of her work at